We wanted to go from Spain to Italy to meet my Italian friends. To avoid the long drive, we decided to take the ferry. I had no idea the journey would be hard.
We calculated a lot, how to get from Spain to Italy. The drive would have cost about 300 euros (tolls+diesel) and there would have been a lot of hours (about 22 hours) of driving to Mikael. So we started to think, if it would be better to take the ferry.
The ferries cost a lot compared to the ones that go between Sweden and Finland, even if it was during off-season. There are at least two alternatives, Grimaldi Lines and GNV, and they have different routes. In the end we chose Grimaldi Lines, which goes from Barcelona to Civitavecchia and was the cheapest for us.
The trip from Barcelona to Civitavecchia with our van, two persons and a dog cost 273 euros. Since it was only 50 euros more expensive and I wanted to travel with style, we took the most expensive suite they had.
The three hours drive from Alcañiz to Barcelona went good. The non-payment roads were in good condition and without any traffic jams. With the van there is not really any point to take the toll roads. We had had so good time with Rene, Astrid, Miguel and Olga in Alcañiz and the climbing had been so good, that it was still very hard to leave.
The check-in in Barcelona was a bit hard to find, but it is easy at least to get to the harbor and you don’t have drive into the city center. The check-in is in the Grimaldi Lines building, so you have to first find a parking place and then go in to get the tickets. Then you drive to the lanes to wait.
All went well until we came to the ferry. There was staff everywhere and they ordered us to go to the information desk. They asked to see Romy the dog’s passport and they took it and returned only a tiny lock for us. It turned out, that dogs are not allowed in the cabins and they should be locked in cages, which were in upper deck far from the cabins.
The lock was similar to the ones I locked my diary, when I was a child. So, very easy to open even with a spoon or a pen or a pine cone. We went to see the cages and must say, that in no situation would I leave my pet there. You had to go outside on the deck to get to the cage room and next to the cage there was big machine making terrible noise. On their webpage it also said “For dogs and cats, our vessels have specific supervised areas”. No supervision was ever seen, I promise you. I wont tell what we did, I will just leave it to that Romy was sleeping very well, but probably not in one of the “supervised” cages.
If you don’t have pet, I would say the Grimaldi Lines cruise ship is quite nice. In the summer it must be great with the outdoor swimming pools and bar. People can also freely have different opinions over putting pets into those cages, but for me that place was a big joke. I don’t think any living thing should be put there ever. So probably the last time I am taking Grimaldi Lines, even if we had our own bath tub (jacuzzi type) in the cabin.